Trump Won’t Defer Vast Majority Of His Tariffs

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

The Trump regime announced yesterday evening that they would delay tariff payments for up to 90 days for companies that demonstrate "hardship," but the news was not actually as good as it sounds.

Trump's decision to defer payments apparently does not apply to any of the tariffs he has imposed over the last two years as part of his global trade war.

The deferral doesn’t apply to anti-dumping or countervailing duties, or so-called Section 201, 232 or 301 tariffs. So it won’t ease President Donald Trump’s punitive import taxes on Chinese goods, on steel and aluminum, or those tied to enforcement actions he took including against Airbus SE.

To qualify for the deferment, U.S. importers have to demonstrate “significant financial hardship,” according to a separate statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who is always wrong, says this action is intended to help the retail industry.

“In some cases the customs duties -- the excise tax you pay on the import -- will be lifted if there are hardship cases,” Kudlow said in an interview with Bloomberg TV Monday. “In particular, there’s a lot of concern about retailers and related supply chains getting into the United States.”

It is quite impressive in the worst way to say you're going to help a specific industry and then take action that won't actually help that industry much at all.

In a statement announcing the delay, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said temporarily suspending the payments will 'protect American jobs and help businesses,' but this will mean diddly-squat for retailers still paying tariffs of up to 25 percent on a wide range of goods from baby cribs imported from China to spirits and wine imported from Europe. Saying this delay in payments doesn't apply to any of the above means there's no delay for tariffs imposed on about $500 billion in goods.

So, this isn't going to help anyone, but at least the Trump White House is admitting that tariffs cause unnecessary economic harm even if they're still not willing to lift them in a meaningful way.